Hosting the service you have to purchase before setting up a website. (At least, before setting up a self-hosted WordPress website.) Companies like Siteground or GoDaddy supply affordable hosting services for small businesses. If you’re approaching a web designer/developer about a new website, you should already have hosting purchased or be ready to get recommendations from them and make a purchase.
Typically, you’ll want what’s called a CPanel. Having a CPanel gives you complete and utter control over your site, from the domain, subdomain and site files themselves. SOme hosting accounts offer an all-in-one website builder tool which may sound like a no-brainer to get, but they are often more complicated and harder fa or developer to work with if something goes wrong. I myself don’t work with projects that are not self-hosted on a CPanel account.
(If you need some more guidance on exactly what hosting is, why you need it, and how to get it, check out my page on hosting and maintenance.)
This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many businesses approach me for a site and when I ask them to describe succinctly what they do and why they can’t tell me. A good mission statement is a brief paragraph that tells the reader exactly who you are as a business, what you provide, who you serve, and what your values are.
A mission statement is useful for a website because a website is like a visual mission statement. A good website should communicate everything your mission statement does. They should be seamlessly connected. You may even want to include language from your mission statement on your homepage or about page.
Check out my free Business Bible Template which has a section on how to write a successful mission statement.
If your website is for an online shop, or even a brick and mortar store, and you’re selling physical items through the site, you should already have the photos ready for your designer. It helps to check with the designer to see what size photos are best or what format they prefer. But have your photography session done and delivered before signing a contract with a web designer.
This goes for regular photography as well. If you want to have photos of your employees or of your office, they should be ready to go before you start eh web design process. One of the biggest productivity killers when it comes to a web design process is waiting on content to be ready. If the designer can see all of your written and visual content before beginning the design, everything will be much more cohesive.
3 Blog Posts
If you intend on having a blog on your site, it’s best to have some content already written. I recommend to my clients that you launch the site with 3 blog posts already posted and backdated. (Meaning the date on the post is set to before the launch.) If you intend on having a really robust blog with multiple categories, I suggest at least 1 post per category to launch with. This means that on launch day when you’re sending tons of visitors to the site, there is actually a decent amount of content for them to engage with.
A Logo and Branding Document
This is less of a requirement and more of a suggestion. If you already have a logo from a professional designer and they supplied you with a branding document of some kind, this can help your web designer more than you know. A branding document will include all the colors, fonts, and other visuals that are required to keep your brand consistent. If I have someone hire me for a logo and a website, I always do the logo design first. A good logo is a condensed and succinct representation of what your business is all about. Think about interior design: they say you should always pick your favorite, statement piece, and design around that. A logo is like your statement piece. You should design everything else around it so that your entire online branding identity is completely consistent.